Post traumatic stress disorder is a condition that affects many of our veterans. After Shari Duval’s son, who worked as a bomb dog handler and served two tours in Iraq, returned from war with post-traumatic stress disorder, Shari was inspired to start K9s for Warriors. This nonprofit organization trains canines to work as service dogs for veterans who have been affected by the post-9/11 wars.
Shari says, “When a Warrior arrives at our Academy, they arrive on two legs; they leave on six, with their new canine service partner.” And then support offered by the service canines is tremendous.
One in five veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from PTSD. It has been medically proven that service dogs aid in their recovery. At K9s for Warriors, veterans are involved in the training of their service dogs during a three-week academy, which enables both veterans and canines to establish a positive bond. The organization provides a service dog, usually rescued from a shelter, as well as training, certification, equipment, seminars, vet care, most meals and housing, all free of charge. k9sforwarriors.org
K9s for Warriors receives funding from a variety of sources, including organizations like explore.org and military non-profits. The service dogs primarily come from animal shelters, and are then trained at the academy. The mission is two-fold; an animal gets rescued and a veteran receives important emotional support in the form of a service dog.
K9s For Warriors was recently announced as a new member of the Birdies for the Brave, PGA TOUR. Birdies for the Brave hosts events around the country at the TPC courses to benefit the participating military charities along with hosting military appreciation tents at PGA TOUR events.
They are also just finishing up our 10 city Bark Business Breakfast Tour hosted by Animal Fair & Wendy Diamond, author of “How to Train Your Boss to Rollover.” Halo Pet Foods, Omni Hotels, Loews Hotels and American Express hosted this cross country tour to highlight the plight of our nation’s veterans (we are losing one to suicide every 65 minutes) and to raise funds to benefit the K9s For Warriors program. The cast of Law & Order SVU, the cast of Chicago Fire, and Jane Lynch from GLEE were among the celebrity hosts at the various events. The tour was a rousing success! People who wish to donate to the tour can still do so at http://www.crowdrise.com/phillyk9s4warriors